The Mintfresh Disaster

By Kim Rose

sfgenreWatching TV by myself. A typical Friday night. Typical of loners who prefer to lie around and think of the people they like rather than go out and do things with them. Yep. Alone — again — in a pile of washed … Sniff … no wait ... unwashed clothes. I don’t have time for washing. Between staring at my crush at school and working part time to afford the flat, clearly I have no time to do anything else. Like clean the flat. How long have these corn chips been here?

I suppose I should introduce my crush.

You can probably tell he’s far more interesting than me — just my opinion, anyhow. He’s not tall. He’s not dark. He’s slender and pale and serious with deep golden brown eyes and brown red-dusted hair. He writes thoughtful poems and has interesting things to say about other people’s writing which sound like compliments but are in fact insults. He is nicely built and dresses sharply. He has it all. No — correction — he does not have it all. He does not have me.

It’s one of those he-could-have-me-if-he-asked-but-doesn’t-think-to-ask kinda deals. Males are really ridiculous in this sense. Especially intellectual types. You can flirt and contort yourself and toss your hair (damn, that’s a lot of muscle strain) and they don’t even realise they are being hit on. Meanwhile, you are so afraid of being rejected by this perfect being that you can barely speak, let alone even suggest this delicate angel waste his time on you.

Intellectual doesn’t necessarily mean smart, I guess. Knows everything except that there’s a gorgeous woman ready to become a sex slave panting over his every word. I hear he and his mates are into conspiracy theories, so who knows really? Is intelligence linked to prowess with the opposite sex? Surely someone’s done a study. I’ll have to search YouTube.

Before I can bother to switch the cords so the TV picks up internet instead of free-to-air, a tanned supermodel takes the screen. Really? Photoshopped to hell like that? I didn’t think ads like this were allowed anymore. Isn’t it considered like subliminal advertising, or brainwashing, or at the very least dishonest? No body looks like that.

“True, Lillian,” the model grins at me, “No one on Earth looks like this.”

I stare stupidly at the screen, my hand on automatic ferrying corn chips into my mouth. Awkward. I chew slowly. The comforting gritty texture soothes me. Did the TV just talk to me?

“Yes, Lillian,” the model speaks again, facing me, peering through the screen like she is face-timing. Maybe she is. Did I put the internet on and forget?

“No,” says the model. “I’m actually on broadcast TV. So few people watch it these days that other dimensions have started advertising here. You never know, you might find something you need. I’m targeting you because you are a member of the galactic federation.”

That does it. I crack up. My guffaw spews corn chips outwards onto the screen and sprays wet crumbs all over my unwashed clothes. Lucky. If I had been breathing in, it’s a certainty — I would have choked to death. As it is I hack up tiny bits of chip while I fumble for a drink bottle …

Ha! Found one. Generic brand orange fizzy drink, warm. I swallow it down.

Recovering, I address the freak in the TV. “I don’t know what’s going on here,” I say with all the good humour I can manage, “But I think I might be hallucinating. Maybe a friend of mine dropped shrooms in this bag. I just don’t know. There’s no such thing as a galactic federation. And if there was I would not be in it. Kindly go away so I can think about my crush, please.”

“But I’m here about Mark.”

“Oh, you know his name?”

“We do.”

“Is he a member of the galactic federation too?”

“No dear,” the model smiles, “Did you know that crisps and other junk food can lodge in your teeth, giving you bad breath?”

I give the scattered corn chips an uncertain look. Can she smell my breath from there? Now I’m worried I might have corn chip breath forever. I put the bag down.

“Well,” she grins reassuringly, “Now you don’t have to worry anymore!”

Hurrah! I pick up the corn chips and take a big handful, stuffing them into my mouth and washing them down with orange soda.

“Lillian.” She looks cross with me. The imaginary person on my TV in my hallucination is cross with me. A new record of mental aversion.

“What?” I mumble.

“It’s still an ad, you know? Even though we need you to get this thing so you can go get Mark, there are still rules. If it's not an ad, it wont play here at this time.”

“Go get Mark!” I yell. Oh no. What will my poor neighbours think? “Why didn’t you say this before,” I say, “What do you mean ‘GO GET MARK’?”

“Yes dear. We want you to start a relationship with Mark. We want you to tell us everything he is working on … all his poetry. It’s a secret universal code and it’s your duty to get it for us.”

“Go get Mark? This thing is going to let me have sex with Mark?”

“Yes. We believe this hormonal compound is perfectly aligned to stimulate his pheromones. He won't be able to resist you.”

“HOW DO I GET IT?” I scream, leaping up on the lounge and jumping up and down on my dirty laundry. Corn chips literally rain over the room, but what do I care? It’s only the crumbs that are impossible to grab and get into my mouth.

The model waves her hand at a flashing phone number at the bottom of the screen. She pulls out a small green bottle and sprays one pump into her mouth. “Remember to use strictly as directed,” she says. “One pump of Mintfresh is enough to kill all those bad odours and bring that special someone in for a kiss! Just call this number to order and your package will be in the letterbox in a few hours.”

I burrow through the washing to find my phone. I pound the number into the screen and yell at the person on the other end. Thankfully, they indulge me.

I sit on the couch watching the ads flow by. I don’t see any more inter-dimensional ones. I think. I don’t recognise any of the shows, either. Maybe everything is advertising.

After a few hours I run downstairs to check the letterbox, unable to contain myself any longer.

Small parcel! I rip it open. One tiny green bottle.

Mark will be at the coffee shop, so I run. By the time I get there, I am patchy with sweat. Mark is at an outside table with his friend Xavier. That’s the guy with the conspiracy theories. Flat Earth, fluoride spraying, government lies. I honestly think Mark is too smart to be taken in by that crap. There is nothing real in that junk.

I saunter up to the table, pump one shot of Mintfresh onto my tongue — tastes like peppery sage — and lean over into Mark’s face.

“So, honey,” I say calmly, “Notice anything different about me?”

Mark looks up slowly. “Hello, Lillian.” His eyes are so brown, so soft, so deep. His skin so sweet. I can’t stand it. Why isn’t he declaring his love for me? Or tearing my clothes off? Something?

Xavier stands, a sudden abrupt movement, scraping chair legs on bricks. “Got to go man, I’ll let you sort this. Catch up later.”

He strides off. Mark waves, then gestures to the seat. “Sit down, Lillian.”

I sit, giving him my cutest eyes. Here it comes.

He takes a deep breath. “I know you like me, — ” he starts to say.

“That makes things so much easier!” I exclaim, reaching for him.

He pulls back. “Lillian, I know you’re in the galactic federation. I know you’re a sleeper spy, and you’re trying to get my universal codes. I’m sorry but this can’t happen.”

He stands, leans over the table and glares into my eyes. “We know everything,” he whispers before striding away.

I am worse than speechless, hoarsely mute, watching dark winter clouds gather over the park.

rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Kim Rose

kim rose 2 200I am an aspiring Australian writer living on a small farm in central west NSW. We run a small animal rescue centre called 'Crescent Moon Lodge and Halfway House' and I self publish books on Amazon about our rescued animals. Our farm and our star attraction — Regina Gina the evil duck queen — have their own Facebook pages for fans. I have a passion for sci fi and fantasy and have a great deal of ideas I’m looking forward to exploring. Thanks for reading!


AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

asff img

Please visit the ASFF website and consider joining for up-to-date info about Australian SF cons, awards, competitions, and to receive the Foundation's newsletter, Instrumentality, and more.


AntiSF's Production Crew

nuke conflux 2017 200Ion Newcombe is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia’s longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998, and conceived back around November 2007. He has been a zealous reader and occasional writer of SF since his childhood in the 1960s, and even sold a few stories here and there back in the '90s.

“Nuke”, who it turns out loves editing more than writing, lives in the New South Wales North Coast holiday destination of Nambucca Heads, where he is self-employed in IT training, computer support, desktop publishing, editing, writing, and website implementation. He is also the resident tech-head, skeptic, and board member of community radio station 2NVR, where he produces a number of shows including The AntipodeanSF Radio Show.


mark web 200Mark Webb's midlife crisis came in the form of attempting to write speculative fiction at a very slow pace. His wife maintains this is a good outcome considering the more expensive and cliched alternatives. Evidence of Mark's attempts to procrastinate in his writing, including general musings and reviews of books he has been reading, can be found at

One of Mark’s very best forms of writing procrastination is to produce the eBook series for AntipodeanSF, which he has been doing since issue 175.


Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 238

A Hand Full Of Sand Can Save Your Life
by Laurie Bell

A Man Full Of Shadows
By Eugen M. Bacon

A Short Tail
By Michael T. Schaper

By Sean Mulroy

Help Us
By Wendy Campbell

Meeting With A Misanthrope
By Bart Meehan

By Lynette Frey

By Kevin J. Phyland

The Hyperspace
By Botond Teklesz

Waking Up
By Chris Cole

Get Dimension 6


Get Dimension 6 Speculative Fiction

From Coeur De Lion Publishing

Here at AntiSF
Download D6 Now!

"Trust me, you want this free speculative fiction e-zine."
(Rob Hood)

AntipodeanSF April 2018


Speculative Fiction
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

AntiSF's Narration Team

garry dean narratorGarry Dean lives on the Mid Coast of New South Wales Australia, and has been a fan of SF for most of his natural life. Being vision impaired, he makes good use of voice recognition and text to speech in order to write. Many of his stories have appeared in AntipodeanSF over the years, and his love of all things audio led him to join the narration team in 2017.

You can read examples of Garry's fiction on his website <>

 old style mic flat 25

laurie bell 150Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia. She spent years writing and making audio plays with her sister using an old tape player. Life is a performance! She is a singer and has performed on stage once for her local theatre company. Now she helps out as a volunteer. She loves to read her stories out loud to anyone who will listen. She has recorded several audio readings of her own short stories here at Antipodean SF and is now a member of the audio team.

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

Laurie's debut book The Butterfly Stone will be published in Autumn (Aus) 2018 and another titled Blood Fever will be published in Winter (Aus) 2018.

old style mic flat 25

david whitaker 200David Whitaker is originally from the UK though has travelled around a bit and now resides in India. He has a degree in Journalism, however decided that as he’s always preferred making things up it should ultimately become a resource rather than a profession.

His stories, covering everything from sci-fi to philosophy, have been published across the globe and links to each can be found at <>

old style mic flat 25

timonthy gwyn 100Timothy Gwyn is a professional pilot in Canada, where he flies to remote communities. During a lull in his flying career, he was a radio announcer for three years, and he is also an author.

In addition to short stories at AntipodeanSF and, his SF novel is available internationally in print and ebook formats. "Avians" draws on his love of alternative aviation to tell the tale of a girl who runs away from home to join a cadre of glider pilots on a world without metal or fossil fuels.

On Twitter, he is @timothygwyn, and his blogs are at <>.

old style mic flat 25


pixie willo 100Pixie is a voice actor, cabaret performer & slam poet From the Blue Mountains in NSW.

She enjoys writing short fiction, plays for radio and stage as well as her own brand of weird poetry.

She hosts the 'Off-Beet Poetry Slam' held bi-monthly in Katoomba,

And is a theatre reviewer for 2SER FM in Sydney.

old style mic flat 25

mark english 100Mark is an astrophysicist and space scientist who worked on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. Following this he worked in computer consultancy, engineering, and high energy research (with a stint at the JET Fusion Torus).

All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his enjoyment of rainbows, colourful flames on romantic log fires, and rings around the moon. He has previously been published in Stupefying Stories Showcase, Everyday Fiction, Escape Pod, Perihelion and also on AntipodeanSF where he is part of the narration team.

old style mic flat 25

marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.

old style mic flat 25

SF News

SF News

Congratulations Edwina Harvey

Edwina Harvey, a contributor to AntipodeanSF since the very first issue, is a worthy recipient of this year’s A. Bertram Chandler Award.  She has been an active member of Australian science-fiction fandom: writing, publishing and with her amazing artwork for 40 years.

Read more information about Ed's Award here at the ASFF.

Swancon (Natcon) ASFF Short Story Competition 2018 Results

Under 14s

  • First place: "Butterflies - Rebecca" by Bryn Eremaea
  • Runner-up: "The Dark Night Labyrinth" by Cayley Adams

Under 18s

  • First place: "Advik, Chantelle, and That One Time a Portion of the Moon Was Turned Into Leeks" by Annie Budgie


  • First Place: "A Burning Thing" by Lachlan WaterRunner-up: "A Light Over Fathom" by Brett AdamsCongratulations to all the winners. We look forward to seeing your future work.

For more SF news why not join the ASFF and get the ASFF newsletter “The Instrumentality” delivered straight to your inbox!

Upcoming Aussie Cons

Speculate <> — Victorian literary festival that celebrates Fantasy and Science Fiction by bringing together Australia’s finest speculative writers for a day centred around the craft of writing. April 28 2018, Gasworks Theatre, Middle Park, Melbourne.

Supanova, Peter Capaldi and John Barrowman. Melbourne Show Ground 20-22 April. Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, 27-29 April: <>

Continuum XIV: Conjugation. Melbourne’s SF Convention. 8th – 11th June, 2018. More information: <>.

Conflux 14 - The Unconventional Hero — Vibe Hotel, 1 Rogan Street, Canberra Airport ACT 2609. 29/09/2018 - 01/10/2018. More Information: <https//>

Nullus Anxietas VII: The Australian Discworld Convention – will be held in Melbourne on April 12-14, 2019, and is themed on Going Postal. More information: <>

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <>

AntiSF will be at the National Convention, Swancon (2018) over Easter in Perth. Rock up and say hello!

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50The AntipodeanSF Radio Show delivers audio from the pages of this magazine.

The weekly program features the stories from recently published issues, usually narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen to the latest episode now:

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show is also broadcast on community radio, 2NVR, 105.9FM every Saturday evening at 8:30pm.

You can find every broadcast episode online here: 

S5 Box

Login Form

S5 Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.

SF Quote we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups...So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

Philip K. Dick